An ordinary person's thoughts on the complexities of art & life ...

An ordinary person's thoughts on the complexities of life ... or just ramblings from the mind of a working Mum with far too little time to think!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

What is Beauty?

The Oxford English dictionary defines beauty as 'a combination of qualities that delights the aesthetic senses.' It also references the proverbs, 'Beauty is in the eye of the beholder' ~ something which one person finds beautiful or admirable may not appeal to another; and 'Beauty is only skin deep' ~ a pleasing appearance is not a guide to character.
Blush ~ Pink Ranunculus

Photography has greatly opened my eyes and changed my thoughts about the notion of beauty. I see beauty all around me: in the intricate designs and colours of a flower; in the intensely focused expression of a cat as he watches a butterfly; in the soft, sweet smell of a newly born baby; in the slightly amused smile of my daughter as she patiently explains yet again how to create a slide in powerpoint; in the helpless eyes of an abandoned baby plover bird; in the many lines and creases of an old woman's face; in the perfection of an incredible sunrise that makes everything feel brand new; in the rich jewel colours of the depths of the ocean to the pure white foam of the waves breaking on the shore; and in the innocence of a young girl all dressed up for her first formal dance. 

Blue-eyed newborn

For me, beauty is something very real and very personal, something that is sensed and responded to on a level that is difficult to define. But when you see it, you feel it strongly and are moved by it. Beauty is to be found everywhere and within everyone. But as we are all individuals, we all see it differently. 

Bursting with happiness

To this day, whenever I see hyacinths, especially mauve hyacinths, I am overcome by their beauty. When visiting my grandmother, while growing up, I knew I would always find hyacinths in her garden or in a vase on the table. Today, they still have that old-fashioned feel about them and a glorious perfume that reminds me so much of my grandmother and my childhood in Africa. 

Mauve Hyacinth

The question 'What is beauty?' immediately brings to my eyes a vision of the deep blue African sky, again an image from my childhood. Perhaps it is only in my mind, but I have travelled to many parts of the world and have never yet managed to find a blue sky that comes anywhere near to that of Africa! 

Late afternoon ocean

Khalil Gibran, author of 'The Prophet', captures the feeling so succinctly: "The things which the child loves remain in the domain of the heart until old age. The most beautiful thing in life is that our souls remain hovering over the places where we once enjoyed ourselves."

Angelic Rupert

It is said that true beauty comes from inside and that the eyes are the window to the soul. I love to read the eyes of people, especially those that I photograph. People speak with their eyes, they smile with their eyes and their life experiences are visible in their eyes. 

My Beautiful Mother

I found this wonderful quote by Macduff Everton, which I believe says it all:

"Beauty can astonish us. Inspire us. Make us dance. Make us weep. Beauty can be magical. Beauty can transform us. Beauty lets our soul sing. Beauty can have such depth that you don't even notice it at first, or ever."


It takes two

Michaelangelo's Pieta

Beautiful Girl

Heart Reef - Whitsundays

Dance ~ Pink Poppy

Beauty is everywhere we look .... a single flower, a smile, a line of poetry, a few lingering notes of an oboe at the end of a symphony, a mother's kiss, a child's hug, the magic light at the end of the day, the shimmering stars in the moonless sky, a galloping horse with mane flying, the first sighting of Michaelangelo's 'Pieta' statue, Venice at night, the first cautious step of a baby ...

We have only to open our eyes and our hearts.

Images can be viewed and purchased from the gallery at:

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